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Student Mental Health Mindset: “How to Navigate College Transitions as a Detourist”

Mental Health Advocacy, Sexual Assault Prevention and Broadway Musical Theatre (View a comprehensive guide here.)

cgtfutBased in part on Amy’s personal experience cultivating resilience after a decade of trauma, Mental Health Mindset is a 60-90 minute program combining storytelling, participatory discussion, creativity, and a keynote speech.

Customized versions for ages 7-14, 15-18, college students and graduate programs available.

(For Amy’s award-winning musical theatre one-woman show for students, “Gutless & Grateful,” go here.

Bring #LoveMyDetour Resiliency Community Programming to your school.

Explore the secrets to gratitude, hope, stories and creativity to maximize student success.  See FAQ’S

In this mental health-themed presentation, Amy discusses developing a resiliency toolbox, and provide local and national resources in order to help students cope with major change.  The program has proven to be an ideal fit for student orientation, sexual assault prevention month, disability groups, leadership speaker series, diversity programming, ROTC workshops, and mental health awareness events.

“I don’t have a story you hear every day. I’m a survivor of sexual abuse, 27 surgeries, coma, organ failure, six years unable to eat or drink, and the PTSD that comes from ten years of trauma, starting from my senior year of high school.

But the “story” I’m driven to share is a narrative that unites us all: a story of reimagining our identities when life surprises us, become authors of our own lives in the face of uncertainty, and resourcefully growing from difficult experiences.

Having been affected by illness, disability and chronic conditions, you may be surprised at my positive outlook, sense of humor, and unbridled zest for life, which I accredit to my “four keys to resilience.” My programs provide hope, help and resources, starting a vital conversation on how we each can work to build a culture of empathy, empowerment, curiosity…and play.”

Watch Amy’s TEDx Talk here:

Popular “Top Five” Student Programs:

  1. Disability Advocacy on Campus
  2. Sexual Assault Prevention
  3. LGBT Programming
  4. ROTC Events and PTSD Awareness
  5. Speaker Series, Business and Leadership

The Recipe for Resiliency: Four Essential Mental Health Mindsets for a Healthy, Heart-Full Life

engageencourageentertaineducateempowerWho knew that thriving in the face of adversity could be as simple four inspirational words? Gratitude, Hope, Creativity, Stories. These might be easily confused with whimsical phrases on gifted journals you’ll find at the bookstore.  That’s what makes these growth skills so great — basic, long-term mindsets that anyone can foster, enabling us all to mentally conquer any obstacle we face.  Learn how to use creativity as a mindset, allowing us to interact with a deeper part of our aliveness, and build a stronger identity for ourselves.  A strong sense of identity is the greatest compass on any “detour” that life takes.  Amy will share how these skills fostered the resilience which enabled her to thrive after her own near-death experience, and how we can utilize these skills to overcome any obstacles, turning life’s detours into the path of our dreams.  

Learn more in Amy’s Huffington Post article, “Four Hard-Core Skills to Resilience”

Mental Health Mindset on Campus is deeply rooted in understanding now trauma affects an individual and society as a whole.

Read more in Amy’s Huffington Post articles:

Students will learn how to:

Learn how to build resilience, and develop healthy self care strategies,  Discover how to create a healthy campus with an empowered approach to health through fostering long-term mindsets.  Learn more in Amy’s Huffington Post article, “Ten Secrets to Self-Care”

This keynote was originally developed for the National Mental Health America Conference.  See videos here.

This is a three-component program:

Part 1) Gutless & Grateful 15-character, 9 song Broadway-style performance that’s both comedic and poignant, which chronicles surviving nearly a decade of medical and emotional trauma with humor, creativity and grit. Through interwoven song and dialogue, I share a primal piece of live-storytelling – a powerful message that it’s possible for students to navigate “detours” and overcome obstacles through developing inner resources. The play has won seven national awards and also features original material written for me by Kathie Lee Gifford after appearing on NBC’s Today Show. 

Part 2) An educational session/speech where I discuss an empowered approach to mental health, how to develop a resiliency toolbox, how to cultivate hope, and how to thrive  with a physical or mental health condition.  

Part 3) A Q&A: Students will be provided with local and national assault and mental health resources and a takeaway guide. The session concludes with creative exercises to strengthen leadership skills and coping strategies.  You can view details, professional references, my CV, learning objectives, videos and a comprehensive booking history here.


(If interested in hosting a performance of Gutless & Grateful, Amy’s award-winning one-woman musical, go here.

“Gutless & Grateful” is part of “LoveMyDetour,” a fiscally sponsored organization creating seminars, workshops, curriculum, books, music, and performances designed to entertain, educate, and engage on Mental Health, Sexual Assault Prevention, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Disability, Storytelling, Anti-Bullying, Leadership, Creative Arts, and Diversity.

Mental Health Mindset Additional Topics

Mental Health Mindset can also involve various pertinent student topics, including:

Turn Your Life into the Best Story You Ever Read


Does life seem overwhelming? Do your circumstances feel shaky, uncertain and frightening?  Use the power of stories to reframe your narratives and become the author of our own lives. Learn more in Amy’s Huffington Post article, “Turn Your Life Into the Best Story You’ve Ever Read”

The spoken, sung and written word has the power to transform our lives, our community, shape our world, cultivate self love and compassion. Our stories transform our personal experience, enrich our community and teach others the lessons we have learned for ourselves.  Through expressing our stories, we reframe the seemingly random events in our lives by stringing them into a singular narrative, making meaning in the process.  Through sharing our stories, we embody our role as “author,” as we both uniquely define ourselves and create empathy through our common threads.  Learn emotional and persuasive power of telling an authentic story as an essential leadership, self-development and resiliency skill.

Creativity: The Only Mindset You Need


Creativity is not only a mindset, but an essential survival skill. Creativity puts the magic back in life, so not only are we never bored, we are constantly inspired, present, empowered, and happy.  Learn how to use creativity as a roadmap, an anchor to the self, and a lifeline to the community.Learn more in Amy’s Huffington Post article on Creativity.

PTSD and Sexual Assault

I'm not a victim.

What factors lead to individual’s ability to assertively cope with and escape from potentially dangerous situations?  In the wake of sexual assault, destructive coping strategies can lead to amplified PTSD symptoms and victimization.

Through sexual assault prevention, PTSD education and empathy-building, we assert our innate power to move through trauma.  By understanding the psychological repercussions of sexual violence, individuals are empowered to come forward as allies and leaders, creating a community striving towards compassion.  Learn healthy coping skills for healing after sexual assault.Learn more in Amy’s Huffington Post article on Sexual Assault and Healing Through Our Voices.

Food and Gratitude: Nourish Your Body, and Stay Hungry for Life 


“Surgeons connected my body, but food connected my mind and soul.”  After being unable to eat a morsel of food or drink a drop of liquid for six years, Amy learned powerful lessons about the emotional, physical, psychological and social importance of food.  Relearning how to nourish her body after 27 surgeries required and new approach to self-love and self-care.  Take an empowered, compassionate approach to nourishing your body and come to love the food that breathes passion into your life.  With mindfulness, you’ll learn to observe your thoughts and emotions without immediately acting and are better able to choose how to react more effectively.  Embrace your right and responsibility to define beauty on your own terms and to love and respect themselves and their bodies. Form a deeper relationship with yourself and with others through love, care and confidence.  Shedding insight into our emotional and intellectual relationships with food, Amy goes far beyond body image and eating disorders to get to the heart of the issue, helping individuals shape their perspectives about nutrition, stress and weight management, with humor, poignancy, and practical tools.

You’re a Detourist

A Detourist looks for the upside of obstacles. A Detourist follows that twisted path because they’re curious to see where it could lead.  Learn more about Detourist Participatory Creative Workshops.
A Detourist travels along detours – simple enough.  But in addition, a Detourist embraces those unexpected routes as opportunities for growth, change and self-fulfillment. Amy is living proof that a detour can lead to unexpected blessings.  The art of “Detourism” is the subject of Amy’s TEDx talk.  Learn why being a Detourist is the road that leads to living your best life.  Learn more here.

Learn about Amy’s entertainment based PTSD and Mental Health Program, Gutless and Grateful

Book Amy as a speaker today.


Questions? Check out FAQ’s on the program


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